Work is not what it used to be

Andrew Little centred his first speech as Labour leader on “work”. He hit the mark. Work is changing fast and taking society with it. There are two main drivers, globalisation and technology. Globalisation intensified in the 2000s into what Harvard … Continue reading

For the economy, a year of uncertainty and debate

From September the global oil price has halved. The milk solids price halved from February to December. Those are two indicators that the international economy is unsettled. Our supposedly “rock star” economy faces an “interesting” 2015. One marker: Bill English’s … Continue reading

The world in 2015: a disordered place

Just 100 years and six months ago, Europe was an ordered place. By this time 100 years ago it was in brutal disorder. Early in her time as Prime Minister, Helen Clark talked of an “incredibly benign (security) environment”. The … Continue reading

Even the world’s small can stand upright

Here on Middle Earth what does 2015 hold? That we will still be hobbits at its end? Or that we will stand upright? No wonder Australians sneer: Sir Peter Jackson, Air New Zealand (in its “safety” videos), Wellington airport (scrawled … Continue reading

Listen to the bones: hear the value of a full life

Humanity’s dark side has been on show this year: beheadings, aeroplanes downed, Americans torturing muslims, the Taleban executing children. Where is the good? John Key’s entry into his party’s campaign launch on August 24 was amidst a phalanx of government … Continue reading

The year of a man who’s been around a while

Today the Treasury will likely publish fiscal figures less rosy than those Bill English managed into a “surplus” at budget time. Last week John Key took us another step from free nation to fearful huddle. English is no macho-politician. In … Continue reading

When houses are bad for the economy

When a tumbledown bach with a modest view on a modest section is “valued” at $640,000, up 36 per cent from 2011, that suggests an economy seriously out of kilter. Land and house “values” are wildly out of whack whether … Continue reading

Election in a bubble

Colin James to the Victoria University post-election conference, 3 December 2014 The 2014 election came 30 years after the 1984 election which triggered a tectonic shift in policy, ideology and our understanding of ourselves. There was no tectonic wrench in … Continue reading

The big Little start to Labour’s rebuild

Can Grant Robertson count? Will Jacinda Ardern stick it out? What does an Andrew Little smile look like? Where does a theology degree fit in politics? Does any of this matter? Plenty think Labour is mere amusement or an historical … Continue reading

(Not) changing the climate on climate change

Here’s a foreign policy issue the government wishes would go away: climate change. Most other governments wish it would go away, too. They will nonetheless send emissaries to Lima in Peru for 12 days of talks from next Monday. Lima … Continue reading